Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 4.4.21


Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.  

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’


Pick the meat out of this:-

The 7 day average of daily deaths as of yesterday:-

USA: 913 and declining from a 2021 peak of 3,457

Italy: 438 and rising

France: 288 and level from a 2021 peak of 444

Germany: 162 and declining slowly from a 2021 peak of 905

Spain: 89 and declining from a 2021 peak of 488

UK: 37 and declining from a 2021 peak of 1421

Portugal: 7 and declining from a 2021 peak of 291

Sweden: 7 and declining from a 2021 peak of 98 

So, neither Italy nor France are achieving a decline in the death rate. In contrast, the UK has achieved the steepest decline. Everyone knows why, I guess. The better news for Italy is that its daily case rate – at c. 20,000 – is in gentle decline. In France, however it’s risen from c. 11,000 at the start of December to 39,000 at the start of April, though yesterday’s number fell to 33,000. For comparison, the UK’s was c.3,400 yesterday. And Spain’s was c.5,800.

Cosas de España

Here’s the new editor of The Olive Press on what has changed in Spain during the 15 years she’s lived in Madrid.

Those bizarre ‘Ku Klux Clan’ Semana Santa outfits . . . What you need to know.

It’s a sunny, warm Easter here in Galicia and Pontevedra’s tapas bars yesterday were doing excellent business, with 50-75% occupation allowed right now. Because they have to indulge their habit metres away from anyone eating or drinking, groups of smokers rather stand out. My impression is the high incidence of smoking among teenage and young women is no lower than it was when I  came here 20 years ago. Which I find very saddening. The question arises – Will some of these decline to be vaccinated because of a perception of risk, while ignoring the medical advice on lung cancer?

Another of those Only-in-Spain? experiences on Friday evening in Vigo. While my companions changed our return rail tickets, I went to the next window to renew my expired Renfe discount card. Only to be told I couldn’t do this except when buying a ticket. I didn’t bother to inquire about the logic of this but joined my friends and did it at their window with the ticket they’d just got for me.

As if Brits didn’t – post Brexit – have enough to worry about . . . . Squatter horror from Mark Stücklin.

Mark writes here that Spain has a legal and political framework that encourages squatting, especially mafia extortion-rackets exploiting the system to shakedown property owners with the threat of a squat. So it should surprise nobody that Spain has a serious problem with the illegal occupation of property. I guess this will eventually be stopped but I doubt I’ll live to see it. Especially if Spain’s government continues to be a coalition involving a far-left party.

Cousas de Galiza

Maria’s Tsunami: Days 60&61 An outing to the mountainous O Courel area of Lugo province.

The UK

Decades – or even just years – ago, we were told ‘the government had decided to do this or that. These days it’s ‘Boris Johnson’. Or even just ‘Boris’. Not even ‘the Prime Minister’. Witness this Times headline today: Boris Johnson fears lockdown illiteracy surge. Which is a nice lead into this article on the caustic views of the man with the hairstyle of a yak. As Richard North says, these are hardly new. Or, one could add, based merely on his inept performance of the last year.

The Way of the World/Quote of the WeekPit my truth against your truth and it’s a terrifying race to the bottom.

Finally  . . .  Who knew Liberace could do this?

OK, I recognise many of you won’t know who Liberace was. Here’s his last performance with Oprah – in 1986, just 3 weeks before he died of AIDS complications.